The Enon Hall Restoration Part 2
Enon Hall, left and The Ewing House, right, in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Ewing House is one of the few original (not rebuilt) houses in Williamsburg, according to Bill Chapman's research. The same vintage and style as Enon Hall, the house provided a wealth of research information. Mr. Hayden told the Chapmans that in his younger days he often did research at Williamsburg.
Bill and Gay Chapman have purchased Bill's ancestral home, Enon Hall, a four-acre estate near the Chesapeake Bay in Lancaster County, Virginia. They bought the house without first seeing the inside, and granted the elderly owner lifetime tenancy.
For the past year, Bill Chapman has kept a careful journal of his purchase and restoration of Enon Hall. Since going online a year ago, Bill has had contact with 14 previously unknown Hathaway descendants.
Here are excerpts from his journal.
Today we received the sad news that Mr. Hayden passed away last night. He was 96. We will miss him greatly on our visits to Enon Hall. He was always very supportive of our efforts around the house and welcomed our passion for the old place.
And, of course, we are eternally grateful that he entrusted us with his home of thirty years, enough to sell us the home when it wasn't even on the market. And enough to accept us as the new owners while he continued to live there.
On several occasions he asked me to let him know if he was doing anything we "didn't like" or if he was getting in our way. I tried my best to explain that while on paper we owned the house, this was still his home. It was he who should let us know if we were getting in his way.
But quite the opposite, Mr. Hayden seemed to enjoy the new buzz around the house and welcomed the small dent that we have been able to make so far. We are so thankful that he was so lucid at his age because he was able to tell us so much about the house and contribute solid advice related to our projects.
Every visit with Mr. Hayden ended with him asking me, "Is there anything you want to ask me?" Most of the time, I did have a question or two that I had been meaning to ask. "What did this used to be like?" "What happened to...?" I have no doubt that we will have all sorts of questions that we'd love to ask Mr. Hayden as we really get into the restoration of Enon Hall.
Mr. Hayden was an old school gentleman. We will miss him.
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"The Ewing House was also where we found our favorite front stoop...
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...and a good example of an appropriate cellar entrance."
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"...the cement shingles that Colonial Williamsburg uses instead of cedar shakes. Once the shingles have aged and grown a little moss you really can't tell the difference."
(Click on pictures for a larger view.)
I had a business meeting in Williamsburg on Friday, so Gay and William joined me for the trip and we spent the night. Spent Friday afternoon and Saturday taking pictures and looking for ideas for Enon Hall.
Mainly we were interested in ideas for a fence and gate (the newly exposed brick front walk is begging for a picket fence and gate at the end...and we know there used to be one there), cellar trap doors, and front stoop.
On Saturday morning we wandered into a gift shop and found a porcelain model of a house that looked just like Enon Hall! The house was labeled "The Ewing House."
We had not seen this house in our travels on Friday, so we started asking around. Nobody had heard of it. In fact several Colonial Williamsburg employees in the Visitors Center told me there was no such house.
Finally, a supervisor looked it up in a book and told us where we could find it. We sped there right away and photographed it from all angles. This house is one of the few original (not rebuilt) houses in Williamsburg...so it was great to see a fully restored house of the same vintage and style as Enon Hall.
Mr. Hayden had told me that they often photographed houses in Williamsburg for ideas. As I was photographing The Ewing House I could almost see them there taking the same pictures and having the same conversations. History repeats itself?
Today we tackled the house itself for the first time, carefully stripping asbestos siding off of the front of the 19th century addition. We took the prescribed precautions and worked carefully to remove them with as little breakage as possible.
We carefully double-bagged the shingles in heavy gauge plastic bags. Lesson for next time...it doesn't take a whole lotta shingles to add up to a very heavy bag.
The 19th century clapboards underneath are in great shape and surprisingly thick. All they need is scraping, caulking, and painting. The first couple came off easily...then, of course, things got tougher and I broke quite a few into bits before working out a system. By the time I had gotten to the top of the first floor, I was able to remove shingle after shingle without breaking them at all.
Also spent a lot of time in the cellar looking for clues about the way this old house grew. My personal opinion is that the original Dutch Colonial portion of the house was actually built in two stages, first in the 17th century and then expanded in the 1740s.
The cellar seems to bear this out. Half of the cellar floor is brick, the other half was obviously dug out at a later date. The chimney base at one end is much more massive and crudely assembled than the chimney at the other end.
The newer of the two chimneys also had a fireplace in it that appears to have been bricked in sometime in the 20th century. Probably was used for cooking at some point. Even the stone hearth is still in place.
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Today we met Mark Dameron, whose grandparents owned and farmed Enon Hall from sometime in the 50s until 1962. According to the 1962 deed, the farm was 302 acres when they sold it.
Apparently Mark's son had stumbled upon this website and Mark had been watching out for us at the house so that he could introduce himself. He lives further up the creek in a cove.
Mark shared his childhood memories of his grandparent's time at Enon Hall. Including being reprimanded for walking on top of the cemetery wall and a story of his grandmother being chased by a bull on her way back to the house from the chicken coop with a basket of eggs.
Mark's great uncle actually lived in the kitchen outbuilding for a while. (Hard to imagine now!) He also said he could remember hams curing in the smokehouse.
The Damerons added the kitchen addition to the end of the house, although at the time it was used as a bedroom. The first shed addition on the back of the house was being used as screen porch and the second shed addition was the kitchen.
Was nice to meet a neighbor with such great memories of the house.
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